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4i2                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
presenting Persia with the boon of a so-called regular
army, in. order to reclaim her from her unlawful loves
with France, we clothed her in the robe of Nessus."1
The Erivan Campaign^ 1804.—The annexation of
Georgia by Russia deeply affected the prestige of Persia,
that country having long been her tributary, but actual
hostilities between Russia and Persia did not break out
until General Sisianoff, apparently without a formal declara-
tion of war, marched on Erivan, which he had reason
to believe would be handed over to him by its treacherous
governor. The first battle, fought in the neighbourhood
of Echmiadzin, the residence of the Armenian patriarch,
was indecisive. Not long afterwards the Persian camp
was surprised and the army of the heir-apparent fled.
After this victory Erivan was besieged, and its governor,
who had refused to hand over the fortress, opened fresh
negotiations. Fath AH Shah himself now appeared in
the theatre of operations with strong reinforcements.
Engagements followed with indecisive results, but by
preventing munitions and supplies from reaching the
Russian camp, the Shah forced General Sisianoff to retire
from the siege of Erivan, harassed by the light Persian
cavalry.
The Russian Descent on Gilan.—The next important
operation was a Russian descent on Resht. As travellers
to Teheran know, its seaport is Enzeli, behind which lies
a shallow lagoon some twelve miles across, navigable only
by small boats. After this body of water has been
traversed a narrow river is entered, up which boats are
towed to Pir-i-Bazar, distant some three or four miles
from the capital of Gilan.
The Russian general, unable to transport his guns by
boats, of which only a small number were forthcoming,
attempted to march round the lagoon. But the marshy
nature of the soil and the attacks of the inhabitants were
obstacles too formidable to be faced, and the order was
given to retire on Enzeli. The expedition then sailed to
Baku and bombarded it. The Governor was invited to
1 In the recent struggles the Persian regular army has played no part whatever.   It
13 now being disbanded.